January 30,2017

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Sam Offerdahl, 202-224-5039

Wyden Presses Price on Refugee Resettlement Following Executive Action to Limit Refugees from Entering the United States

Washington, D.C. – Following executive action from the president limiting refugees and immigrants from entering the United States, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asked Congressman Tom Price, the president’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), about his views and experience in helping refugees resettle in the U.S.

In a letter to Price this week, Wyden called this weekend’s actions by the president, “morally abhorrent,” “unconstitutional” and “un-American.” Wyden asked whether the president or anyone in the administration had consulted Price before taking executive action to limit citizens of seven countries from legally entering the United States, and whether Price believes the Executive Order bans Muslim refugees from coming into the country.

Price is the president’s nominee to lead HHS, and will oversee the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which offers aid to refugees who are allowed to enter the country after a long and exhaustive vetting process that involves the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration and U.S. Departments of State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.

Any religious test for refugees is not only morally abhorrent, but it is also unconstitutional, un-American and makes our country less safe. Banning refugees who are fleeing persecution is unequivocally contrary to who we are as Americans and the very reasons our country was founded,” Wyden wrote in the letter.

“If confirmed, you will be responsible for overseeing the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The responsibility of ORR is to assist refugees with the resettlement process once they have legally gained entry to the United States.  Given the actions of this administration over the past week, I believe the committee deserves answers related to your potential leadership over this office.”

Wyden is the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee. The committee is scheduled to vote on Price’s nomination tomorrow morning.

 Read the full text of the letter here.